Congrats to all—everyone at .500 or better for the season with their picks! Anyone up for two more this weekend? — John
Eagles v. Cardinals (The “What the?!?! Bowl”)
Which team is hotter right now? Tough to say, which makes me think this game is a toss-up. I’m going to have to go with the home team with their outstanding wide receiver from THE University of Pittsburgh (the same university with the nation’s top ranked men’s basketball team, by the way.) Cardinals 28 – Eagles 24.
Ravens v. Steelers (part III)
Much like the first two parts, it’ll be a tight game. The Steelers, with a healthy Willie Parker, will be able to get the running game going, and be able to fluster Flacco a bit. Steelers 20 – Ravens 13. — Kurt
Kurt, I think your inner writer geek was sooooo excited to be able to write "fluster Flacco." Let your writer geek banner wave proudly!!!! — John
This has got to be the strangest, and therefore toughest, weekend of football coming up this weekend. I'm referring to the NFC — what happened to football that we've had so many playoff upsets? The 9-7 Arizona Cardinals host the 9-6-1 Philadelphia Eagles. Playoff football at its finest.
I can't help but think that I wasted my football viewing life in 2008 to have the NFC represented by teams that are barely above .500. Exciting that "any team can make the Super Bowl?" Yes. Depressing that the season meant absolutely nothing? You got it.
So, now on to picking from two just-above-average teams for the NFC Championship. Both have picked up their game for the playoffs. This one is hard to choose. Both teams can play strong on defense — a must for playoff football. I can pick strengths and weaknesses for each, and yet I am left with one difference: the game is in Arizona. I am going to have to go with the home team Arizona Cardinals to win in a close game.
Conversely, the 12-4 Pittsburgh Steelers face off against the 11-5 Baltimore Ravens — records that are deserving of an AFC Championship appearance. Both teams are playing tough playoff football. They faced off twice this year in close games, both of which the Steelers won.
Again, I am going with the home team on this one, as the weather, and the worst field in the NFL, will be a factor. I don't see the Ravens’ rookie quarterback being able to complement the Raven defense enough to win this one. — Troy V. of Yardley
How could you not be excited that the NFC's Super Bowl representative will be either:
— a team that tied the lowly Bengals, or
— a team that lost by 40 to non-playoff New England.
Ahhh, the wacky NFC! — John
Thank you for understanding... — Troy V. of Yardley
Baltimore at Pittsburgh: This will be the better of the two games. Two bitter rivals with strong defenses battling in the cold. Unless this Flacco kid is pulling off a "Tom Brady" before our eyes, the Steelers should control the game. Steelers 17, Ravens 13
Philadelphia at Arizona: Buddy Ryan never made the playoffs as head coach of the Cards. Eagles 28, Cardinals 20
By the way, the Birds have ALWAYS made it to the Super Bowl (OK one time) when BOTH McNabb and Westbrook were healthy in January (look it up)!
The question is: how is Westbrook's knee? — Carnac the Magnificent
First, let's get the Bruiser Bowl out of the way. Pittsburgh and Baltimore will pound on each other like wildebeests in a stampede. I can't see any way a rookie QB like Flacco goes 3-0 in the playoffs and from being a Blue Hen to the Super Bowl in one year, so I'm going with the Steelers. If the NFC winner rubs its lucky rabbit's foot, these two teams will rough each other up so much they'll be as soft as lamb's wool come Super Sunday. Steelers 3, Ravens 2.
As for the Battle of the Birds, the Cardinals have scored 30 points in each of their playoff wins. I don't see them reaching 20 against the Eagles; but I'm not sure the Eagles get to 20, either. I'm feeling as frisky as a cat and going with my gut: the Eagles score either a defensive or special teams TD, and that makes all the difference. Eagles 17, Cardinals 10.
This prediction brought to you by Animal Planet. I also predict one very happy Ed Rendell on Sunday as the Eagles and Steelers set up a Pennsylvania Super Bowl. — John
Let's consider the games in order.
First (Wake is undefeated!), is the NFC Championship which begs the question (were they SERIOUS when they predicted UNC would go undefeated?!?) if two mediocre teams play in the desert, will anyone care?
The answer of course is (Jeff Teague!), no. No one other than most of Philadelphia and friends/family in Phoenix will care. But the TV cameras will be there and John asked. So here is my prediction: The overlooked (Demon Deacons) Cardinals will advance to the (Final Four) Super Bowl.
Second is the AFC Championship. Let's not kid ourselves (Clemson is overrated). 2009 is the year for teams wearing (Old Gold & Black) Black and Gold. Having the strongest (frontcourt & bench) defense in the nation and steadily improving (point guard and freshmen) running game translates to (the best start in Wake's history) a third Steelers victory over the Ravens. — Phil
Brilliant (delusional)! — John
Eagles at the Cards: This is a much better Cardinals team than the Eagles destroyed on Thanksgiving night. Healthier and more aggressive on defense, healthier and running the ball more on offense. Eagles have had 2 very physical games and now have to travel West, which isn't easy. I believe this game boils down to the Eagles’ defense against the Cardinals’ offense. They must put pressure on Warner. A late field goal from Akers wins it, 24-23.
Ravens at Steelers: BLOW OUT CITY. I was wrong on the Steelers last week and I’m jumping on the bandwagon. They looked awesome against the Chargers, they are at home, going against a rookie QB and the Ravens’ defense is banged up. Steelers 23 - Ravens 3.
All PA Super Bowl.
I agree with Phil. Wake Forest is going to make up for losing the National Championship in soccer with a National Championship in basketball. They are the best team I have seen. — Dave
"I agree with Phil. Wake Forest is going to make up for losing the National Championship in soccer with a National Championship in basketball. They are the best team I have seen."
Tears in my eyes. Honest to goodness tears in my eyes!! — Phil